Local officials react to Trump’s budget, impacts on Hampton Roads // WAVY

March 16, 2017
In The News

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled a $1.15 trillion federal budget that slashes spending on many programs in order to fund increases in military — and a down-payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The “America First” Outline appears to put an emphasis on the military and keeping the United Sates safe with spending increases planned for defense, homeland security and Veterans Affairs.

Trump’s $54 billion boost for military, or 10 percent, increase will be paid for by big cuts from the State Department.

“Our budget calls for one of the single largest increases spending in the history of this country,” Trump said at a rally in Nashville Wednesday night.

If Congress passes the budget, Hampton Roads may see a big chunk of the military money, and it will provide a significant boost to the local economy.

Trump is going after frequent targets like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State Department. Cuts at the EPA could be even deeper than earlier thought, with a 25 percent trimming.

Trump budget slashes agencies to focus on wall, defense

Deep cuts are expected to include grants to states to protect air, water and land. More than 3,000 EPA workers, including military veterans could lose their jobs at the agency. Mr. Trump’s budget promises to slash funding for foreign aid and money for the arts. Programs that help low-income Americans and regional programs to clean up the Chesapeake Bay are also on the chopping block as well.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker issued the following statement concerning President Trump’s proposed budget, which eliminates funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program:

“At the Chesapeake Bay we will fight with every fiber in our bodies to see that Congress rejects this Bay budget and maintains a program that has achieved so much and is poised to save one of the world’s greatest natural resources,” said Baker. “This just makes no sense. We are in disbelief. The EPA’s role in this clean up is nothing less than fundamental. It’s not just important, it is critical.”

Governor Terry McAuliffe released a statement after the budget reveal.

“Eliminating federal support to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, doing away with the Appalachian Regional Commission and slashing investments in community development, affordable housing, home weatherization, and heating assistance will do significant harm to Virginia families and our economy. As will the President’s stated goal of gutting the federal workforce,” the governor said. “If President Trump is serious about making our country a better and safer place to live, I urge him to look to states like Virginia. We balance our budgets and we spend taxpayer dollars on priorities that work, not political pandering that will harm our economy and the families we serve.”

Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott also released a statement, saying he is still pushing for a balanced budget.

“This budget proposal is yet another broken promise from the Administration to the American people. Cutting $54 billion from programs that help protect and support working families to learn and earn is no way to grow the national economy or put people back to work. Working families deserve a budget that invests in their health and futures, boosts wages, helps them balance work and family life, and levels the playing field for them and their children to succeed,” said Congressman Scott.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine called for change in a statement issued Thursday:

“I will not support a plan that dismantles Medicaid, raises costs for Virginia’s middle class families and seniors, and defunds Planned Parenthood while massively cutting taxes for the wealthy,” said Senator Kaine. “We cannot walk back the years of progress we have already made to ensure that every American has access to quality, affordable care.”

Senator Mark Warner also expressed his dissatisfaction with the budget reveal.

“This budget proposal from President Trump does not reflect a balanced approach. Instead, it includes many short-sighted choices that if implemented could actually harm our country’s strength and long-term growth. The Trump budget proposes to dramatically slash public investments in programs like early childhood education, job training, scientific research, and the protection of economic and natural resources like the Chesapeake Bay,” Senator Warner said.

Congressman Donald McEachin said in a statement that the president’s budget “demonstrates clearly how much this administration does not care about hardworking families.

“The programs and funding that middle class, minority and low-income communities rely on most were stripped or not adequately funded in the president’s budget. Hardworking families in urban, suburban and rural communities will suffer if we fail to protect public education, housing, and the social safety net,” McEachin’s statement said in part. “If this budget were signed into law, it would place more fiscal burden on those who can least afford it, that is, our most vulnerable communities. History has shown that when America’s richest receive more tax breaks at the expense of everyone else, our country suffers.”